N600bn: Pressure Mounts On EFCC To Probe Borno Governor

Borno state Gov. Kashim Shettima

Pressure is mounting on Borno state Governor, Kashim Shettima to give account of over N600 Billion that accrued to the Borno state Government since June 2011, for which no single job worth N10 Billion has been executed over the years.

As a result the Economic and financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has been invited to  open investigations into the alleged massive looting of the treasury of Borno state, for which eight out of the twenty two commissioners serving in the cabinet of Borno state Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima were earlier invited.

It may be recalled that the EFCC was petitioned over the misuse of over N600 Billion that accrued to the Government of Borno state, over which the commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Kaka Bashir Garbai along with seven other commissioners were alleged to have diverted on the instructions of the Governor, Kashim Shettima.

Of particular interest to the EFCC is the disappearance of over N400 Billion belonging to the 27 Local Government Areas, twenty of which are virtually not working as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency, and there is no evidence of work don e with the money in any Local Government.

A verification of the accounts of all the Local Governments also shows that the money which were remitted through the state government are not in the treasury of any of the Local Governments even as withdrawals on the Local Government accounts on monthly  basis were done for apparently no genuine purposes.

The case which has been assigned to the investigations department of the EFCC, which has extended invitation to both the petitioners and the eight commissioners mentioned in the petition, also involve the case of claims of very high expenditure on the education sector even when all schools in the state have remained shut for over two years.

Investigations revealed  that a group loyal to Governor Shettima’s  former boss, Ali Sheriff may have started the processes of the probe of the Governor following a recent post on the social media that Ali Sheriff was being invited by the EFCC for alleged missing N300 Billion during his tenure as Governor of Borno state between 2003 and 2011.

It was learnt that the EFCC initially stayed action on the petition hoping to join the Governor, Kashim Shettima, should he loose the election, but having won the election and with the immunity he enjoys  from prosecution, the Governor has been directed to allow some of his commissioners to interview EFCC operatives over their roles in the widespread corruption committed over the past four years.

The petitioners alleged that Borno state Governor, Alhaji Shettima has been using the displaced persons welfare, the general insecurity and other sundry non performing projects to siphon Government money into his pocket and that of his aides.

They said Government removes money from security votes, from the coffers of Local Governments and from the Ministry of Education, in addition to Billions of naira in donations, all in the name of catering for displaced persons, only to divert most of the money for personal uses to the detriment of the displaced persons.

While praising the former Governor Ali Sheriff for leaving behind N64 Billion for Governor Shettima to build on, the petitioner accused the present Governor of squandering the money left behind, in addition to the N600 Billion received and even went ahead to take a loan amounting to N23 Billion in the last three months.

They argued that, except for a frivolous petition in 2009 when the present Governor was Commissioner for Finance and later  local Government, which was investigated and dismissed by the EFCC, there is no case against Ali Sheriff,  and that if there had been any, the EFCC would have acted upon it since, and not four years after Sheriff left office.

It was however observed that there are three separate petitions against Governor Kashim Shettima, and eight of his commissioner, which are now public knowledge and which  the EFCC is investigating.